Following a brief slideshow presentation of Dr. King’s efforts and achievements, the members of Jabali Afrika meandered to their places, each wearing little more than a cloth, a necklace, and sandals.
The musical group performed for the Quinnipiac community in a tribute to the late progressive civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 25.
Sponsored by the Social Programming Board and the Office of the Carl Hansen Student Center, the musicians from Kenya filled Alumni Hall with smooth and calming harmonies, as well as pulsating, rhythmic sounds.
From the very first hit of the bamboo-covered drums, the audience was entranced. As the men sang out with strong voices, one could have very easily imagined the calm scene of a setting sun or a relaxing summer afternoon.
The members of the band said they try to model their voices to be like that of the ocean waves, gently flowing and pleasant to experience.
The soothing sounds of the performers’ voices were complimented by powerful and confident music that was produced from bongos, congas, and bass drums. The instruments provided a “rock” feel to the vocal elements of the show.
Songs that the group performed included: “100% (Parrracent),” “Everyone falls in love sometimes,” “We shall overcome someday,” and “Sweetness.”
Along with the singing and music, Jabali Afrika introduced the Quinnipiac community to cultural dance techniques. With swaying arms, stomping feet, and thrusting pelvises, the performers were able to express both themselves and their message to the campus.
Audience participation was also a significant part of the performance. Students, faculty members, and children all had a chance to play the drums, sing, and dance.
Whether it was responding vocally to the performers or learning dance steps, the audience was able to let their guards down, embrace culture, and most importantly, have a good time.
Jabali Afrika is currently made up of three men: Victor Elolo on congas and bongos, Joseck Asikoye on drum kit and vocals, and Justo Asikoye on bass drums and dance.
“Performing at Quinnipiac has been a pleasure,” said Justo Asikoye. We hope to come back again. Our hope is to let everybody enjoy Jabali Afrika.”
“I liked the performance and I thought it was energizing. I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did,” said sophomore Spanish major, Lauren O’Leary. “I wish that more people would have come because even the people who walked in during the last few minutes, left with something.”
Jabali Afrika has a compilation of numberous albums, each containing music that is reflective of African rhythyms and culture, as well as, some contemporary jazz and blues harmonies.
For more information about Jabali Afrika visit: www.jabaliafrika.com